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DID YOU READ

The Top 10 Kidnapping Scenes in Movies (with video)

Liam Neeson in Taken

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You’d think movie kidnappers would’ve caught on by now that movie kidnappings never, ever go according to plan; in fact, if you want to experience complete and total disaster, then by all means go kidnap somebody. Here are some kidnapping scenes that start a domino effect of cinematic chaos.


“Bananas” (1971)

One of Woody Allen’s silliest — and laugh-out-loud funniest — comedies, “Bananas” stars the writer-director himself as Fielding Mellish (one of the most character names of all time), a neurotic New Yorker (natch) whose attempts to impress a cute activist (Louise Lasser) end up leading him to the fictional South American country of San Marcos, where he gets involved with a group of revolutionaries. There’s lots of crazy (and oh so ’70s) goings-on in “Bananas,” including a truly bizarre courtroom sequence featuring a middle-aged African American woman who believes she’s J. Edgar Hoover, but one of the best sight gags is this bit of physical comedy in which the chaotic struggle during an attempted person-snatching causes Woody to inject knock-out drugs to everyone involved — including his co-conspirators. It’s the kind of situation that Lt. Frank Drebin of Police Squad! and The Naked Gun might’ve found himself in, once upon a time.


“Fargo” (1996)

The title of the Coen Brothers’ bittersweet love letter to their home state of Minnesota actually refers to a town in the neighboring state of North Dakota, where struggling car salesman Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) meets with bumbling criminals Carl Showalter (Steve Buscemi) and Gaear Grimsrud (Peter Stormare) to discuss the kidnapping of Jerry’s wife — a scheme bound for disaster as it’s wrought with contradictions and complications from the start as the kidnappers insist their meeting was supposed to start an hour before Jerry’s arrival. The fact that these two clowns actually succeed in snatching poor Mrs. Lundegaard (in broad daylight and from her own house, in fact) is pretty remarkable, ’cause that’s pretty much the only thing that ends up being checked off from the list of How It’s All Supposed to Go.


“Labyrinth” (1986)

Jim Henson and Frank Oz’s follow-up to the still-astonishing “The Dark Crystal” hasn’t aged nearly as well as its now-classic predecessor, but it’s still quite the enjoyable nostalgia piece; you just can’t help but crack a whimsical smile whenever you think of the first time you noticed that rather prominent bulge coming from the nether regions of David Bowie’s Goblin King costume. Surely, “Labyrinth” still makes for a fine fairy tale, with young Sarah (Jennifer Connelly, mega-hot even before she was old enough for that to be mentioned) wishing that the Goblins would come and take her meddlesome baby brother away; the scene where she says just the right words for this to actually happen makes for one of the scariest moments in the film, thanks to a rather robust thunderstorm and the excitable Greek Chorus commentary coming from the Goblins themselves as they huddle together in some sort of Hensonian limbo state. Shudder!


“Man on Fire” (2004)

The second of what would end up being many collaborations between Denzel Washington and director Tony Scott (and the first since 1995’s “Crimson Tide”), “Man on Fire” features Denzel as a former CIA operative saved from alcoholic despair and self-loathing by becoming the bodyguard of a young American girl (Dakota Fanning) in Mexico City; when the little tyke is kidnapped, he embarks on the kind of “roaring rampage of revenge” that would make even Liam Neeson blush as he stabs, shoots and blows up everyone even vaguely involved with the snatching of his ward. The scene where Dakota is kidnapped makes for one of the most harrowing moments in the film, cranked up to panic mode all the more by the hyper-aggressive visual style in which Tony Scott loves to indulge.


“The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993)

Tim Burton’s much-celebrated 1993 stop-motion double-holiday classic might now look a little, well, quaint compared to some of the more contemporary films that feature the animation technique (including Burton’s own “Corpse Bride”), but “A Nightmare Before Christmas” is still a triumph of character and storytelling; indeed, Jack Skellington might now very well be as popular a Christmas figure as ol’ Saint Nick himself. Speaking of Saint Nick (or “Sandy Claws,” as he’s mistakably referred to for the first two acts of this dark fable), he’s been targeted for kidnapping by Jack as he attempts to merge both Halloween and Christmas, a task which the Pumpkin King has entrusted to Halloween Town’s trio of troublemakers, Lock, Shock and Barrel. This scene features the ghoulish whippersnappers psyching themselves up to snatch the jolly old elf, complete with rather macabre lyrics that help to paint a rather grim Christmas portrait.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.